One-ton hitchhiker statue goes walkabout
A massive one-ton statue called 'The Hitchhiker' has been stolen from the side of a busy motorway -- and it's believed that the thieves intend to melt it down for an estimated €30,000 worth of scrap.
The theft of the Hitchhiker took place between Monasterevin and Portlaoise on the M7. The 12ft-high phosphor bronze statue by Willie Malone was installed in 2005 and placed on a 3ft concrete plinth. It portrays the hitchhiker as a time traveller -- and now it's gone travelling itself. "The thieves would need a crane or a hydraulic lift and a lorry -- as well as angle grinders," said Mr Malone.
It is believed to have a scrap value of about €30,000 due to the high bronze content.
A dramatic rise in the value of scrap metal has led to opportunistic criminals lifting everything from manhole covers to power lines.